A discussion of HR 4137 (whose text has not reached Thomas), but this article has a copy: Democrats: Colleges must police copyright, or else
New federal legislation says universities must agree to provide not just deterrents but also “alternatives” to peer-to-peer piracy, such as paying monthly subscription fees to the music industry for their students, on penalty of losing all financial aid for their students.
The U.S. House of Representatives bill (PDF), which was introduced late Friday by top Democratic politicians, could give the movie and music industries a new revenue stream by pressuring schools into signing up for monthly subscription services such as Ruckus and Napster. Ruckus is advertising-supported, and Napster charges a monthly fee per student.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) applauded the proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page spending and financial aid bill. “We very much support the language in the bill, which requires universities to provide evidence that they have a plan for implementing a technology to address illegal file sharing,” said Angela Martinez, a spokeswoman for the MPAA.
Support? Or wrote? The bulk of the text of the bill seems to focus on textbook piracy, section 487 definitely points a finger at P2P distribution generally. Section 705 - Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education includes this kind of language:
‘‘(10) the support of efforts to establish pilot programs and initiatives to help college campuses to reduce illegal downloading of copyrighted content, in order to improve the security and integrity of campus computer networks and save bandwidth costs;
I am not in a position to interpret the implications of some of the changes cited in the text. However, I have to say that it seems like it’s going to take something like that to confirm the claims in this article. All I can find that seems even pertinent is the following — and its language is not all that apparently draconian:
SEC. 487. INSTITUTIONAL AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS.
(a) DISCLOSURE OF POLICIES AND SANCTIONS RELATED TO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.—Section 485(a)(1) (20 U.S.C. 1092(a)(1)) is amended—
(1) by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end of subparagraph (N);
(2) by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (O) and inserting ‘‘: and’’ ; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: ‘‘(P) institutional policies and sanctions related to copyright infringement, including— ‘‘(i) an annual disclosure that explicitly informs students that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities;
‘‘(ii) a summary of the penalties for violation of Federal copyright laws;
‘‘(iii) a description of the institution’s policies with respect to unauthorized peerto-peer file sharing, including disciplinary actions that are taken against students who engage in unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials using the institution’s information technology system; and
‘‘(iv) a description of actions that the institution takes to prevent and detect unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material on the institution’s information technology system.’’.